Missing My Dad

This is my father's graduation picture.

I'm not sure what year it was taken but it was when he was a young man on his way to a life in the United States. From his warm South Sea home he came to the mid-western city of Chicago IL where he first experienced snow. To this day I am still in awe that he left his home to go to a place he had never been to and make a new life for himself.  I can't imagine the courage that must have taken him.

Working with a microscope.

Here he is in the back of the class taught by a nun.

 This is a picture of him at 27 with my mother in the Bahamas.
I like this picture because they had gotten all dressed up to go to a swanky dinner club.

Today was his birthday and tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of his death. I remember him asking what day it was and waiting until his birthday had passed before letting go. My aunt and I took him back to the Philippines and placed him with his parents. I can't believe that 10 years have passed. He was an extraordinary man and I miss him.


Holding on to Broken Glass

These are not my hands, but they are doing what I have been doing for quite some time now. Lately I have kept my hands full of broken glass, and it has paralyzed me.  Some days I let it just rest in place and other days I squeeze it tightly to remind myself of my so-called suffering.  I have been quite busy holding on to insults, hurts and disappointments.

 I know that I am not the only person travelling this world who is struggling. In the last year particularly I have had challenges that I did not think I would ever encounter. My struggles have been both personal and professional. 

My personal struggles revolve around reconciliation with my brother and sister. My father died 10 years ago. In a nutshell they decided to challenge his will and sue my aunt and me. I didn't know at the time they were drug addicts. I just couldn't figure out why they were being SOOO awful to us. My sister finally went to prison for her addiction. I was so relieved because I lived in this fear that the next news I would hear was that her body had been found. Likewise with my brother. With him things were a bit different because he had returned to AZ and was not so immediate in my life. He spent time on the street and got clean a few years ago. Last year he returned to NC to get his life back on track and wound up needing my help. So far so good. It has been good to see him and spend time with him. He is back to the guy that I grew up with. My sister is in a halfway house and doing very well in a different city. All those years they blamed and abused me as being "difficult to get along with". It still stings and I still can't seem to set aside the fact that they used me and sued me. I wasn't the bad guy during that time.

My professional issues are a bit simpler, but still painful to me.
I worked for a monster. The whole time I worked for him he did everything in his power to make me quit. I liked the job, so I hung in thinking "It will get better." Seven other women who worked there gave up and did as he demanded of the women there.....quit (actually one lady died..... He worked her to death.). Not me. I was going to prove that I could do the job no matter what. Keep insulting me, demeaning me, refusing my input to the department, changing my schedule, threatening me with what ever fantastic tale you thought might make me break. I worked through the corporate chain of command and was constantly told that I could not be removed from his supervision. My breaking point came when I was suspended from work for making a comment on a log sheet. Less than a week later, a man made a very similar comment and was praised.......

So I found another job and a reduced pay rate...but away from the monster. I was still a chemist but playing in a completely new sandbox. The new company tested chemicals for purity as a raw material for drug manufacturing. It was meaningful work that I also enjoyed. Everyday was a new challenge. You were expected to work quickly and exactly. In one day you could be working from up to 7 different pharmacopoeias.

 Did you know that in the US pharmacopoeia a chloride test requires dropping the pH of the sample and adding silver nitrate and looking for a cloudy result? The Japanese pharmacopoeia only requires that you add Silver nitrate and not acidify the sample. The European pharmacopoeia has you acidify the sample and then pour the acidified sample into a tube containing the Silver Nitrate. The British Pharmacopoeia, American Chemical Society, Federal Food Codex, and Japanese PE all have their own methodologies and each one may only have a minor subtle difference in technique to achieve the same result. A chloride test. The answer to the question of whether or not a chlorine atom is present. No big deal and a very common test. The big deal came in perfecting the nuances of the test methods and write ups.

There was never any rhyme or reason regarding which tests may be assigned in a single shift. Sometimes a single test could last several days. All tests were dependent on whether or not there was enough reagents, glassware, and equipment time. Also each and every test activity had to be recorded in a notebook. All the times, equipment and chemicals used in the test had to be logged in the notebook as well as the results. If there was an aberration, a Laboratory Investigation had to be initiated to determine if the aberration was due to technician error or if in fact the chemical was contaminated or defective in same way.
It was a lot to learn and you were expected to be able to be productive so that the company made money.

Meanwhile, I filed a complaint against the monster and that company that refused to work according to its own published standards. The EEOC set out the hoops and I dutifully jumped through them. My eventual reward was that I was given a "Right to Sue" notification. A prize form I thought. Finally proof that I wasn't crazy, incompetent or difficult.  HooRay!!! My boss was an ASS!!!

But guess what? In NC it's not against the law to be a jerk........at least that's what several lawyers told me when I tried to engage their help.

Then I lost my new job. Bonus Boy was suspended from school for 10 days....... OK I thought, losing the job is God's way of resetting your path. Take care of the house for awhile. It will be OK. I babysat a rebellious 16 year old for 2 weeks and went down to the local CC to get signed up for the Medical Coding classes. After Bonus Boy was received back into the company of his classmates, the Old Salt started having some health concerns. I spent another 2 weeks taking him around to his doctor's appointments and making sure that he was getting the care that he needed. How lucky was I that the timing of losing my job was so right and that I didn't have to fight the guilt of not being available for my family. I was so lucky that the company that let me go gave me 2 weeks severance and 60 hrs of PTO!! That was enough to get by on until the unemployment kicked in!! Whooppee!!!

I filled out the forms and a short time later, I got this official looking letter in an official looking envelope that told me that I had been fired for misconduct and therefore was not eligible for unemployment.

What???? I have worked for years and paid into the system for times like this!! I was fired for misconduct? I got a severance package. They don't give those out to employees who steal things, break things or fail drug tests! This must certainly be a clerical error!! I called the ESC and after my time on hold, was told that I could appeal the decision. I explained how I received a severance package.......why would they give an employee severance if I had engaged in misconduct? The woman was as nice as she could be but didn't have the authority to change the decision over the phone.

So here I am like millions of others these days.........wondering if I am going to be able to keep my house, wondering if I will be able to receive unemployment and wondering if I will be able to successfully complete the required coursework to make a career change.

This marks the official end of my pity party.... I'm going to stop holding on to broken glass. Only if I drop the broken glass will the stings and hurts go away and then I will have room in my hands and heart to hold on to things that really matter.

This post is entirely too long and I thank you for your indulgence.


The Old Salt......

  A couple of years ago Blackbeard and I bought our current house and remained in our same neighborhood to remain near to both of his parents.

By near, I mean 4 blocks from the Old Salt, and 2 blocks from Mama Blackbeard.
(Thirty-odd years ago, they separated to their own quarters and never divorced.)

Luckily, both parents of Blackbeard are alive and sailing the seas of retired adventure.

So about a year ago, Old Salt decided that he needed some shipmates and rather than move us onboard to his his ship, he took quarters in the chamber next to the deckhands (aka eating machines).

Since moving in much has changed around here.

SeaDog and Sister Sarah no longer heed my beck and call.


They are never far from the Old Salt and his endless supply of biscuits and cookies. If he leaves, they sigh and pace around until he returns. Before he gets to the door, they bark for joy and dance to welcome him home!

They carefully sniff him to make sure that he is safe from harm and that no strangers assaulted him while he was away from their careful protection. They show him how since he left them they grew weak from hunger and that now their ribs are showing.

They guide him back to his room and show him how well they guarded the treasures he keeps on the shelf. Then they encourage him to take the treasures from the shelf so that he can see for himself that they haven't moved at all in his absense.......

You don't need me to tell you how this story ends.....


8 Years Ago.......

Eight years ago Blackbeard decided to make an honest woman of his wyfe!!!

We went down to the local Magistrates office, pushed our way through the rabble and ne're-do-wells to the front of the line and declared our intentions. We filled out the form, pushed it back through the little gap in the glass all the while grinning like the giddy lovebirds we were. 

Next we heard "Everything seems to be in order here........That will be $20.00."  Blackbeard reached into the pocket where he keeps his loot and proudly shoved a rectangle shaped piece of plastic through the little gap in the glass. The Magistrate looked down at the payment, pursed his lips, shifted his weight and said "Um....We only accept cash."

 Blackbeard withdrew his wallet from his pocket, replaced the refused plastic and searched around for the requested green paper bills. Out came a five, and 2 one dollar bills. He flipped around searching through the secret compartments used for hiding money and found a ticket stub, a driver's license, grocery club card, decrepit library card and a scrap of paper with ancient scribble on it. He looked at me "Do you have any money?" " Why would I have money?" I replied. He looked around at the group of rabble and ne're-do-wells to see if he recognized anyone who might make him a loan.

"Here." came a voice from behind us. We turned to see my wonderful aunt rooting around in her bag of goodies. Out came the requested funds which were quickly shoved through the little gap in the glass.

The Magistrate smiled broadly, shooed off the riffraff and ran for his robe.  We followed the kindly man to a beautiful courtyard were he commenced with the ceremony.

A few short moments later, I was elevated from the lowly status of "gyrlfrynd", to the exalted stature of "Wyfe".

So far we have ridden the waters as they have carried us. Happily riding the rough seas as well as the calm. I am the luckiest Wyfe in the world!!

Thank you Blackbeard. (Don't look so stunned)


The Wyfe Returns.................

Where do I start?

How can I apologize to my imaginary fans for my long absense?

Will they forgive me?

Do I still have a witticism or two to share?

Is blogging passe now?

Is it vain to blog?

Can I keep this template under control?

Mostly I just want to return to a hobby I started to amuse myself then I neglected for far too long.

Stay tuned..........


Foul Weather And Foul Moods Afoot

Dear Mr Weather Man,

FYI...... I live here.

Yeah, I know that one's a little hard to read.

So let me begin again,

Dear Mr. WeatherIdiot,


Specifically so that I don't have to see any of this......

And what did I spy when I looked outside the other day!!!

Curses and more Curses!!!

Luckily we had these "gifts" that we haven't had the chance to "regift".

This cold air phenomena is making the whole house act a little crazy.

Even poor Seadog doesn't quite know how to behave....

Next week I better see some of this or we're going back to the olde wyves waye of casting the weather!!!


Who Says Frivolity Can't Be Frugal?

Lookie here!!! Lookie What I Got!!!

Mirrored Op Art

Mirrored Op Art

This modern 3 dimensional sculpture by Kenneth Wingardplays with light and shape in a way that can make a room. This glittering piece of wall art is made of dozens of mirrors attached to moveable wires. This sculpture is perfect for above a bed, sofa or any blank wall that needs some "pop". This Op Art sculpture measures 25" on diameter. Wall mounting included.
Mirrored Op Art pad$218.00pad

And do you think I paid the glamour price? Nooooo!!! 

I got it at a YARD SALE!!!!  

I traded a crisp $20 bill for it! 

See!! Here it is!!!! 

Here it is on a buff wall........

Stunt shot of it on a blue wall......

Bedecking a Red wall.

I admit, I LOVE yard sales. I love plundering through the junk to find the treasure. Going to them is a luxury that I have not been able to enjoy for some time now. Today was the magic day and I found a fun treasure to start decorating the new ship!! Please forgive the poor photography and do your part by helping this poor wyfe decide which wall it should decorate...... 

Buff, Blue, or Red.

Disclaimer: I have no grand prizes other than a shout out and a BIG Thank you!!


It's Like a Game of I Spy!!

I Spy with my little eye.........

The contents of a Junk Drawer!!

What on earth will we find in here? Gold maybe?

Hey!! Here are my glasses I can never find!! Now I will be able to see!
  (and maybe take a picture that is actually in focus!)

Still blind and taking pictures.... I come across an assortment of grooming aids
  (now I can get all pretty for Blackbeard!)

I can fix my hair now too!!

Here is some booty I like to decorate myself with......

Air mattress plugs for missing air mattresses, playing cards and an assortment of writing devices that may or may not be filled with liquid ink.

Radios for camping trips, an ipod hard drive 2 magnifying glasses and 3 deathtraps for vermin. The list goes on and on and on......



Crashing Against the Rocks.......

To Anyone Left Who is Remotely Interested.........

Life on the ship lately has been through some rough seas lately................

Most tragically, days before Thanksgiving, my beloved nephson was orphaned by the death of his wonderful father.  His dad had not been feeling well and thought he had the flu. He was sadly sicker than he realized, and my nephson came home from school to find that he had passed. The coroner did not do an autopsy, so we will never really know why he died other than "natural causes". Most people who die at 51 have been chronically sick for a period of time or in poor health. It is a mystery that will haunt us for a long time. I am in the process of applying for guardianship of my nephson and getting him through this sad event. I love him so much, but am a poor substitute for his beloved father..........

During this time Blackbeard, Bonusboy, Seadog and I relocated to a bigger ship. It is a block and a half from the previous dingy, but has room for my nephson to have his own space here. Let me advise and strongly warn all who move...


Enough said about that.......

So the new year is upon us and I wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2009. I myself am looking forward to returning to calmer seas and posting more regularly.


Rare times on the Ship

Blackbeard surprised me the other day!!!
He got this out of its hiding place! I heard we had one, but since I never see it, I thought it was idle gossip......

He got it out to advert disaster on the ship..........
Our tiny tiny room with the special chair was out of order........
I wanted to call on a specialist, but he would have none of that.
(this is where he is ALL ABOUT BEING CHEAP (WHOOPS!) Frugal)

He disassembled the special chair while I had my finger on speed dial. I tried to tell him, its not like a computer, you just can't start tearing it apart and somehow figure out how to put it back together......

Well I must admit, he shamed his wyfe and her doubts. Before I knew it, he had it reassembled and water was where water should be......

He strutted out quite please with himself and decided to leave me to the aftermath while he moved on to other projects. 

He passed on this project......

I don't think he saw this disaster........

Seadog did his best with the tile, but was unfortunately hampered by the lack of thumbs.......

oh well, I can't blame him........but someday, it will be time to call a professional..